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Finance Work in Poland - is it hard for a non-Polish speaking person?

neasden1 1 | -
17 Nov 2010 #1

Thinking of moving to Poznan with my new wife. I was wondering if work is hard to come by for a non Polish speaking person. My profession is accountancy. Teaching English may be an option- but do you think I can make a decent living from that.

Many Thanks!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,721
17 Nov 2010 #2
Well, ask yourself several questions -

1) Are you comfortable with a significant drop in living standards? If you're an accountant, I guess you'll be taking home at least 20k a year in the UK - you're just not going to see the same kind of money here.

2) Can you cope with the environment? Poland is rather unpredictable and frustrating at times - if you want stability, it's not a good place. It's also not a great place to bring up kids. As an adventure, it's great - but if you want to have a future, it's not so great.

3) Are you happy putting your career on hold? There's not much in the way of such work in Poznan unless you're relocated - I know the "big" names are cutting costs to the bone at the minute.

4) As for teaching English - would you be happy doing this for years on end? Could you drag yourself out of a warm flat at 7am in December to go out into -20c temperatures - and likewise, not get home until 9:30pm in warm, summer evenings when you'd rather be in the pub having a drink? Also, the unpredictable, varied hours. "Normal" is 7-9am, then 5-9pm in the evening. It's demanding physically and mentally - especially in winter!

It's not impossible, but you need to consider yourself first - would you be happy throwing everything you've studied away just for the sake of living here?

On the other hand - if you have money to come here and invest, then it could be a great place for you.
Xorox - | 6
1 May 2016 #3
Merged: Job market for a finance graduate from UW

I have qualified for Masters in Finance and Accounting in university of Warsaw. Having gone through various threads here, I heavily doubt the job market for a finance graduate in poland. Since its a paid studies and I would need to spend money from the savings to manage the living, I want to make a wise decision. I don't want to spend money on something that will not pay me off. Please help me in light of your practical insight.

Thank you!
terri 1 | 1,627
1 May 2016 #4
First - find jobs where the qualification is required.
Second - find out how much the jobs pay.
Third - decide if it is worth it.
Fourth - decision is yours.
6 Mar 2017 #5

Moving to Poland: Find a part-time job in finance

Cześć wszystkim,

I am a Belgian starter who is trying to find a part-time, finance related job in Warsaw for about half a year. It needs to be half a year, since I'm planning to do a second master degree at the Kozminski University in Corporate Finance. I already did a master degree at a top 40 university (world rankings) in Financial Economics, with a focus on that last word. As this master degree was rather research intensive, I would prefer to improve my practical knowledge of the financial sector: financial law, auditing, ... etc.

Currently, I'm finishing an internship at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg and I did a summer school last year at the HEC Business School (Investment Banking & International Corporate Finance) in Paris. I speak Dutch, English and French fluently, I've a good knowledge of the Italian and German language (conversational but bad writing) and I've been studying Polish since about 1 year. (Your grammar is rather hard so it takes quite some time to form proper, long sentences in my head)

For what it matters: I've done some online coursework offered by the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and the Universities of Oxford and Berkeley (California).

Would it be possible to find a part-time job with these qualifications?

Dobry wieczór,
Lyzko 23 | 6,634
6 Mar 2017 #6
Looks like you have plenty of skills to offer! Best of luck to you:-)
cms 9 | 1,272
7 Mar 2017 #7
Assuming you are not trolling, then yes you should be able to find something. Speaking French and Understanding Polish plus having a financial background is extremely marketable at the moment. I think your best bet would be to try some of the French banks, both BNP and Credit Agricole has quite a big presence in Warsaw.

An alternative would be to use your World Bank or EIB connections, or use the alum network from your alma mater - they will probably have some graduates in Poland. there are a number of private equity and investment funds that have capital sourced from these institutions.
Lyzko 23 | 6,634
7 Mar 2017 #8
I'd quite agree with you. There rarely if ever any substitute for knowing the language of the country in which you intend to work, whether it's Poland, France, Latvia, Finland, Russia, Spain etc. Relying on natives to all speak uniformly comprehensible English is iffy and usually a mistake.
9 Mar 2017 #9

No, I am not trolling. But don't get any wrong ideas: I've done online coursework, that does mean that you join a web lecture of professors and professionals that is offered to thousands of people, on the internet. So speaking of a chance of practicing my networking skills: no that hasn't been there.

Further, I have sent some e-mails to BNP & Credit Suisse as they were looking for people with a background in finance and supplementary language knowledge. (Italian & French for BNP ; German for Credit Suisse)

Ps.: Does anybody know you need a GMAT for a master of finance at Kozminski?

Let's hope for the best,

DominicB - | 2,678
9 Mar 2017 #10
Does anybody know you need a GMAT for a master of finance at Kozminski?

You say that you are seriously interested in attending this school, but are asking a question like this on an anonymous internet forum. If you are not competent to quickly and easily obtain a definitive answer for a simple question like this from an authoritative source, then there is something seriously wrong.
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #11
The best place to ask such a question is on a Polish forum, isn't it ? My Polish fiancée didn't know it so she told me to ask it here. Further I know that B-schools like the Erasmus in Rotterdam dare to ask for a GMAT for master of science programs. But I couldn't find any information about it on the website of Kozminski itself.
DominicB - | 2,678
9 Mar 2017 #12
The best place to ask such a question is on a Polish forum, isn't it ?

Of course not, silly boy. It's probably the worst place.

My Polish fiancée didn't know.

Of course she didn't, silly boy. Why ever would you even ask her?

You said you have a masters that was research intensive, and can't figure out the appropriate way to get definitive answers to simple basic questions about admissions policy at a particular university, depending instead on your girlfriend and an anonymous internet forum? Are you kidding me?

My Polish fiancée

Aha! Yet another victim of the classic "Polish girl wants to go home to be with family and is convincing her totally clueless foreign boyfriend that he will be able to make a go of it in Poland" story. You'll find countless variations on that them in the archives of this forum, always with tragic endings.

Wake up and smell the coffee, kid. It is extremely unlikely that a move to study, live or work in Poland would be in your best interest at this stage of your career. It's extremely unlikely that you will not end up seriously damaged by such an ill-advised move. Get competent advice from highly experienced professions in your field. I'm afraid that your head is so messed up with "love" and other romantic silliness that you are bound to make the mistake of a lifetime. In Poland, when reality $hits, it wipes it a$$ with poor suckers like you.

You seriously need to grow up and start acting like a responsible adult instead of like a love-struck thirteen-year-old. And you should reconsider your relationship with a woman who so easily manipulated you into committing career suicide. You're not mature enough for an adult relationship.
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #13
DominicB, grow up please and leave the adult work to the intellectual layer of society. Trying to humiliate me, make you look even more childish. It's very under the belt. The only thing I can notice from your way of reacting is that you are either very jealous or either very irritated with something today that you try to abreact that on me. Both are rather childish.

But to make things clear for you, I'll give some extra information about myself and my situation.

My Polish fiancée only wants to finish her master degree, her second one, in Warsaw. Further what is a research intensive master? Has is something to do with qualitative research? Maybe but not in my case: my research-intensive masters was full of time series analysis. If this doesn't ring a bell, then I'll explain it to you. Ignorance is a source of jealousy so it seems. Time series analysis is a branch of econometrics. An economist, as I was trained as one in my bachelor degree, needs a lot of this to perform economic, quantitative research. But I don't want to spend my life making complicated, financial forecasts debating if I can use or not the 2SLS method because my variable is either relevant or exogenous. That's what a degree in Financial Economics is about. If you had an education in this, you would have known of course.

Further Kozminski is #18 master in Finance & Accounting in Europe with a lower tuition fee (8.500 zl), higher positioned than Vlerick in Belgium (61.000 zl) & Erasmus in the Netherlands (40.000+ zl), so more interesting for me. Further Poland is full of companies in need of people with language skills and with a background in economics and finance, so speaking of $s I'm not so concerned either.

Why do I want to go to Poland?
1) Because the university is higher ranked, the best quality institute of Poland in Finance, it has lower tuition fees and you start as a senior financial analyst instead of a junior. Yes, I did my research on that already, thank you.

2) Poland has a much lower priced real estate market. So buying an apartment in the center of Warsaw, i.e. Srodmiescie, would cost me up to 500.000 zl. Do you have any clue what it would have cost me in the center of Brussels? So with my current savings, I can buy relatively speaking more than I can in the West. Further the prices for a bread, water, beer and more important: transportation are also far lower.

3) I am a language learning amateur (French for somebody who likes to do something, in case you would like to know) That means that I speak and learn several languages for fun. A lot of Polish financial companies and Poland-based banks are looking for people with these language skills. Further it will also enhance my knowledge of the Polish language, something a lot of Poles seem to think of as really important for foreigners to do.

4) To give a twist to the entire story, I am also a devout catholic man with a rather family focus than career focus. Concerning my family and future children to be raised in a devout Catholic country with good and free education and multilingual parents (my wife Polish-English-Italian-Dutch, me Dutch-English-French-German-Italian-Polish), was Poland one of the best choices to be made.

So no, I'm not a typical graduate wanting to reach the top of the business and make it into London-based Hedge Funds. Better take a look at your assumptions before you try to humiliate me, dear DominicB.

Take me for a foreigner, and that's completely true, but in my culture it's quite appropriate to ask for help or advice. So go bully someone of your own size, which is smaller than mine ;)
dolnoslask 5 | 2,414
9 Mar 2017 #14
Why do I want to go to Poland?

Thank you for considering Poland as your future home, your commitment and investment will be appreciated, this is a great place to live as a family and it does sound as if you have done your homework and have a sensible plan for your future career.

Please don't listen to the negative non resident posters on this site, they just don't know how it is to live in modern day Poland.
Atch 17 | 2,900
9 Mar 2017 #15
Does anybody know you need a GMAT for a master of finance at Kozminski?

Why don't you phone them and ask them? It may take a few phone calls to sort it out but it's the only way to get definite information.
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #16
I already have done that by now, but I figured that people with so much experience in the Polish financial sector - as these people exist on this forum - would know such a thing on the spot. So I wouldn't have had to invest into a multinational phone call to the Kozminski administration in my broken Polish. Does that clarify my motive for posting that question in the first place on this forum? :)
Atch 17 | 2,900
9 Mar 2017 #17
Well I wasn't being nasty. I was just thinking that the easiest way to get the info you need is to ask for it at the source. A few euros spent on a phone call is a small investment when you're considering spending thousands on tuition. What about Skype anyway? Also why call them yourself with your broken Polish when your wife is a native speaker. Could you not ask her to do it? Incidentally would your studies be in English or Polish, because if so that broken Polish will have to serve you well.
DominicB - | 2,678
9 Mar 2017 #18
So I wouldn't have had to invest into a multinational phone call

You're contemplating buying a place for 500,000 PLN in the center of Warsaw and you are worried about the cost of a silly phone call????? There's something fundamentally fishy here. Read your previous posts and ask yourself why it was that one poster thought you were a troll and another that you were a simpleton.
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #19
No, I didn't try to answer in a defensive way to you specifically. I was trying to explain to everybody why I posted that simple question.

To answer my question first: no, for a Msc I don't need a GMAT (for which I was/am studying anyway, so it doesn't really matter in the end)

My fiancée (I call her sometimes just my wife, sorry for the confusion), is currently not available and I just wanted to know it right now for free. If you give somebody the choice between obtaining information for free or obtaining it for a few euros, I think 90+ % will go for the 'gratis' option.

But thank you for the help anyway,
Oh DominicB,

Referring to an investment in an apartment in Srodmiescie and a phone call? That's comparing apples with pears. There's nothing wrong with looking out with spending money if there exist also free ways to obtain information. Clearly, you have never read 'Thinking Fast and Slow' by Nobel Price for Economics winners Kahneman & Tversky, to understand the importance of using good reference points to evaluate an investment decision.

dolnoslask 5 | 2,414
9 Mar 2017 #20
would know such a thing on the spot

But academic requirements can change term to term year to year so it would be best to get a Polish speaker to call and get all the up to date info for you.

Or just create a email using google translate, they will get the gist
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #21
Normally such requirements don't change over time as in five years of study I never experienced my alma mater change its policy and certainly not for such an international, well-known test as the GMAT. But I got the information already and as long I am not applying for the MBA, I won't need it.

Thank you for the help but I already got the answer and for some reason I can't remove my question anymore on this forum,

Ziemowit 12 | 3,571
9 Mar 2017 #22
The best place to ask such a question is on a Polish forum, isn't it ?

Of course not, silly boy. It's probably the worst place.

Since you yourself has been answering so many question along with giving advice on work in Poland on the PF, telling someone that this forum is the worst place to ask such a question was not the cleverest thing to say.

DominicB is someone who has always been trying to discourage young people from taking their professional chances in Poland. And this is probably why he has called you a silly boy. But be patient with him - he is often, but not always, prepared to offer good advice
delphiandomine 83 | 17,721
9 Mar 2017 #23
I'm sorry for multiple quotes, but there are some separate things that need to be addressed here.

DominicB, grow up please and leave the adult work to the intellectual layer of society.

OK - first lessons for you - Poland is no place for self-proclaimed intellectuals. If you use that kind of attitude here, you'll soon run into a very big brick wall.

Further Kozminski is #18 master in Finance & Accounting in Europe with a lower tuition fee (8.500 zl), higher positioned than Vlerick in Belgium

Where did you get that from? Kozminski doesn't even have university rights in Poland. It might be called "Kozminski University" in English, but "university" isn't a protected title, unlike "uniwersytet". Furthermore, unless you already have connections in Poland, the degree itself won't be worth much.

1) Because the university is higher ranked, the best quality institute of Poland in Finance, it has lower tuition fees and you start as a senior financial analyst instead of a junior.

You should do a bit more research. You might get a job as a senior in some third rate finance company, but any respectable institution will start you as a junior. Don't get too hung up on job titles in Poland - it's quite a common trick to give people grand sounding titles with a pathetic salary/responsibility.

A lot of Polish financial companies and Poland-based banks are looking for people with these language skills.

You're talking about BPO/SSC type places, which means you're talking about glorified data input positions. They offer very little in the way of career progression, unless you're willing to relocate abroad. Jobs in Polish financial companies go to Poles and foreigners with a sound grip of business Polish, not "amateurs".

Concerning my family and future children to be raised in a devout Catholic country with good and free education and multilingual parents

You're coming to the wrong country then. Poland is only superficially religious, and as for family - if you want a good corpo job in Warsaw, you won't be seeing much of them if you want the children to have a good upbringing. You won't be doing 40 hours and home - you'll be doing upwards of 50, plus work at home. If you don't want to do it, they'll quickly find someone else that will.

As for "good and free education" - you should perhaps spend some time in Polish schools before making that assumption. Schools are underfunded, teachers are paid significantly below average wage - the "free" education actually turns out to be quite expensive in the end.

By all means, come and see for yourself. But be warned, Poland is not a place for sensitive people, and you'll soon find that the Polish corporate environment is far less professional than you think it is.
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #24
Thank you for the information but it's quite contradictory to the information I find online and the experiences my family and my Polish friends shared with me.

Further, the Kozminski university was ranked by the Financial Times as the #18 Msc in Finance in Europe with really good salary prospectives.]

Secondly, a single look on glassdoor, contradicts your idea that only data input jobs are offered to international multilingual individuals.

Last but not least: every job has its duties and you are the most religious Catholic country I have ever seen in Europe. I've been in Poland many times and I've gone to masses a lot of times. I am not even going to argue about the Polish religiosity as it's just trivial knowledge.

Ps.: As a libertarian, I don't really care about the wages of teachers.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,721
9 Mar 2017 #25
That salary ranking is quite frankly nonsense. You're not going to find many people on 320,000PLN/yearly in Poland, and I wonder where they got their figures from? It might be based on those working in London after graduating from Kozminski, which would make more sense. The real number you're looking at will be no more than 6000-7000PLN/start for a typical corpo language job with rare languages (such as Dutch/Danish/Finnish). That number won't rise dramatically in such corporations, as they rely on a revolving door of people.

In real companies (i.e., not outsourcing sweatshops) - you can get much more after a few years, but you're going to struggle to get into those jobs with a degree from a private university and without a solid grasp of Polish.

Secondly, a single look on glassdoor, contradicts your idea that only data input jobs are offered to international multilingual individuals.

Can you share with us what you're looking at on Glassdoor?

By the way, is your fiancee from Warsaw, or from elsewhere?
mafketis 21 | 7,386
9 Mar 2017 #26
Trying to humiliate me

Okay, I agree that dominic is no ray of sunshine (quite the opposite, a little raincloud bringing gloom and despair wherever he goes) but if you cna't take what he says then you'll never make it Poland. It can be a great country to live in but you need to toughen up and learn to be assertive or you'll end up with shoeprints all over your face.

Poland is not super religious but it's not post-religious like most of west europe (which also means it can survive, post religious societies usually get eaten for breakfast by religious ones).
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #27
No problem:

- Finance + Italian,6_IC3094484_KO7,14_KE15,22.htm

- Finance + French,6_IC3094484_KO7,21.htm

- Finance + German,6_IC3094484_KO7,21.htm

And as you see, there are plenty of good firms looking for people with financial skills and knowledge of foreign languages,

Ps.: She's from Warsaw

delphiandomine 83 | 17,721
9 Mar 2017 #28
Thanks - I can tell you a thing or two about those jobs. It's basically SSC/BPO work - so you have little chance of progression, or if you get it, it's very often without any increased financial benefits. They're quite soulless places to work, and you don't really get to do anything satisfying there - it's menial, repetitive work for faceless people in the West. If you're a go-getter, you'll find them to be incredibly frustrating places.

The work is good in that the salaries are stable and the work is stable, but you'll struggle to start a family on the wages on offer in those places in Warsaw. Very often, the people working in those places are sharing rooms in Warsaw, or commuting from far outside Warsaw - the salaries are just that low. You won't get anything near 300.000PLN/year there - rather 50-60,000PLN maximum net.

Don't be misled by titles like "junior" and "senior" - these are not real financial jobs, but rather SSC jobs - meaning that the titles don't really stand for much.

Dominic and cms will tell much more about these type of companies - but you won't get $80,000USD there. I don't know where FT got their numbers from, but I suspect it's based on a survey of graduates working in London rather than in the country where the job is.
MrComric 1 | 21
9 Mar 2017 #29
Ok, thank you for the information,

So we'll probably just finish our degrees and benefit from the low costs in Poland for two years more. We'll see what the future brings, but thank you for the information. But by the time I graduate, I'll hopefully speak sufficient Polish to work at a good international company.

For now, I've a job interview via Skype for BNP over a few days, so let's hope for the best.

DominicB - | 2,678
9 Mar 2017 #30
I don't know where FT got their numbers from

It looks like (yet another) bot-generated list based on unweighted or poorly weighted self-reported selective data of little utility. It does not appear to have any human editorial input, which would have been costly. Useless lists like this litter the internet because they are so cheap to generate. It's rather haphazard, and doubtlessly does not match any other ranking list, especially any created by competent humans. The marketing department at Kozminski stumbled across it and are capitalizing on it, and on the naivite of anyone reading their marketing materials.

The 320,000 PLN per annum figure is bot-generated nonsense. Like you said, the jobs available for inexperienced entry-level workers are in SSCs and BPOs, and are poorly paid. And you are right about the jobs being boring and dead-end. These jobs are outsourced specifically because they couldn't find anyone willing to do them in the source countries. Mind-numbing grunt work. And also because paying low wages is the highest, and often only, motivation at work.

Yes, title inflation is extremely common in outsourcing centers, mainly to attract people dumb enough to think that that "senior analyst" would look great on a resume. Quality employers are hip to this and therefore do not value SSC/BPO experience very highly. And, like you said, there is no ladder to climb. You're stuck and forgotten in a windowless basement white-collar sweatshop with yard-high stacks of printouts in your in basket. It might be a step up for some desperate Dalit from Delhi, but for a well-educated person from a Western country, it's career suicide, or at least career coma.

Normally I don't recommend enrolling in the School of Hard Knocks, but some people actually do need to learn the hard way, and Comric appears to be one of them. It won't be pretty, and it won't be fun, but it's no skin off my back.

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